Discover dynamic education programs and curriculum resources about the history of our city, state, and nation.

Institute for Constitutional History

Education Mission

The New-York Historical Society Education Division provides dynamic programming and curriculum resources for students and teachers in New York and beyond. Historical study sparks curiosity and creativity, promotes cultural understanding, and fosters an empowered citizenry to strengthen our democracy. Our staff of passionate professionals draws on our world-renowned collections to engage learners of all ages in the study of our collective past.


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Education programs are made possible through endowments established by
National Endowment for the Humanities
The Hearst Foundations
The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation

Public funds are provided by
Institute of Museum and Library Services
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council
Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer
New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature

Education programs at New-York Historical receive generous support from
Gillian V. and Robert Steel
Pine Tree Foundation of New York
Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
Altman Foundation
The Hearst Foundation, Inc.
Sherri and Darren Cohen
Deutsche Bank
Onassis Foundation USA
Rice Family Foundation
Maggie & Robert Boroujerdi
Susan Waterfall
Robie and Scott Spector
Keith Haring Foundation
Con Edison
Alan Shuch and Leslie Himmel
Richard Reiss
Barker Welfare Foundation
Consulate General of the Netherlands
Dan W. Lufkin
Susan and Robert E. Klein
The Michael Tuch Foundation
Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation
GWG Foundation
Placer Partners and Ray Lent, Managing Partner
Henry Nias Foundation
an anonymous donor


Help us present groundbreaking exhibitions and develop educational programs about our nation's history for more than 200,000 schoolchildren annually.


Upcoming Events

New-York Historical Society
The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History Seminar
Fall 2020 Session (Virtual)

The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is pleased to announce its fall 2020 seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty:

Constitutional Norms, Constitutional Conflict,
and Informal Constitutional Change

Virtual Meeting Dates & Time:
Fridays, October 9 and 23, November 6 and 20, 2020 | 2–5 PM

Deadline Extended: Wednesday, September 9

A great deal of the American constitutional order does not derive directly from, and cannot be understood solely with reference to, the text of the written Constitution. Instead, it often emerges from high-intensity conflict—what scholars have termed “constitutional hardball”—over the existence, meaning, and application of unwritten constitutional norms. In four virtual sessions, Josh Chafetz and David Pozen will lead discussions on the origins, functions, and mutability of these norms, with special attention paid to 20th- and 21st-century instances of intense constitutional conflict.

Josh Chafetz
is a professor of law at Georgetown University. In 2019-2020, he served as a member of the American Political Science Association Presidential Task Force on Congressional Reform. David Pozen is Charles Keller Beekman Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where he teaches and writes about constitutional law, information law, and nonprofit law, among other topics.


The seminar will be presented virtually, via Zoom, on the following dates:

  • Friday, October 9, 2020 | 2–5 PM
  • Friday, October 23, 2020 | 2–5 PM
  • Friday, November 6, 2020 | 2–5 PM
  • Friday, November 20, 2020 | 2–5 PM

Accepted students will receive instructions for accessing the virtual sessions. Zoom, an easy-to-use video conferencing platform, requires no special login or membership.

The seminar is designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law, and related disciplines. All participants will be expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in seminar discussions. Although the Institute cannot offer academic credit directly for the seminar, students may be able to earn graduate credit through their home departments by completing an independent research project in conjunction with the seminar. Please consult with your advisor and/or director of graduate studies about these possibilities.

Space is limited. To apply, please submit the following material to by September 9, 2020:

  • Your C.V.
  • A short statement on how this seminar will be useful to you in your research, teaching, or professional development.

Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter. For further information, please email Alexander Kassl at

There is no tuition or other charge for this seminar, though participants will be expected to acquire the assigned books on their own.



The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History (ICH) is the nation’s premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the New York Historical Society, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association. The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICH prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society. ICH also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history.

The Bonnie and Richard Reiss Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is supported, in part, by the Saunders Endowment for Constitutional History and a “We the People” challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities



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